Lim Chu Kang farm
Fallowed farms dot the Lim Chu Kang agricultural estate, and there are no signs of large-scale development where a stacked farm is envisioned. Image: Eco-Business/ Liang Lei.

The elusive agricultural hub: Will Singapore’s second, larger attempt at an innovative agri-food zone work out?

Read our deep-dive into the country’s farming infrastructure – and lack thereof – as part of our special report on local food production in the city-state.

Singapore is known for developing world-class industrial hubs. Apart from its downtown financial centre, on its western fringe lies a thriving biomedical park. Further at the end of the mainland is Jurong Island, one of the world’s top oil refining locations.

Pressured to ramp up local food production, farmers too have been calling for more national infrastructure so that scale can be achieved.

Jack Moy, chief executive of indoor vertical farm Sustenir, also believes that growers should not need to bear the burden of building their own farms.

“The capability to build a farm and to run a farm is different. So why is [one] company doing both?” he said, adding that current high interest rates make it difficult for farmers to develop new facilities. Government-built farms will “alleviate a lot of pressure” on the farmers, Moy said.

There are similar sentiments in the aquaculture space. Tan from Barramundi Group said having a nationalised hatchery and nursery that focuses on supplying high-quality fingerling can help the industry operate with greater predictability and lower disease risk.

But a hub concept for Singapore’s agriculture industry remains elusive, for now, despite big plans in the works.

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